NIAGARA FALLS, NY- Starting in June, Canadians will be able to do more shopping on this side of the border before getting hit with a duty tax.
According to estimates from Visit Buffalo Niagara, 3 million Canadians make shopping trips to Western New York each year. Now that the Canadian government is making a change to the duty free limits, officials expect even more Canadians to come across the border helping to boost the local economy.
Here is how the Canadian duty free will be changing on June 1st:
• For trips more than 24 hours and less than 48 hours, the duty free allowance will increase from the current limit of $50 to $200.
• For trips longer than 48 hours, the duty free allowance will double from the current limit of $400 to $800.
• And for weeklong trips or longer, the duty free limit will increase from $750 to $800.
When Canada's duty free allowance levels change, they'll match those we have here in the United States.
Duty free limits for alcohol and tobacco will remain unchanged. Canadian shoppers still will not be allowed to bring anything back to Canada duty-free for trips less than 24 hours. Americans, currently do have a same-day duty free allowance in Canada- it is $200.
Ed Healy, VP Marketing of Visit Buffalo Niagara, said the stars are aligning for Western New York. With the exchange rate in America's favor, gas prices less expensive here than in Canada, and greater product diversity here, Canadian shoppers are flocking for day and weekend "shopping holidays." Healy says this new legislation will only make cross border shopping more attractive.
"Our goal is to get people to come here more often, stay longer and leave more money behind and I think this legislation will help us do just that."
That is also good news for bars, restaurants, and hotels that will reap the benefit from the increased shopping tourism.
Shoppers agree, the new duty-free limits will get them to shop here more often. "We try to come over every month or two months, but this might bring us over just a little bit more," said Vanessa Cheropita of St. Catharines, Ontario.
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster says the change will also be tremendously helpful for the city. He says sales tax numbers are beyond projection for Niagara Falls and the Niagara County area and cross border shopping is the reason.